Psionics is the ability to harness, shape, and control natural forces that are contained within the Psionicist. Dungeon Masters who wish to add psionics to a D&D campaign need look no further than the 160-page Psionics Handbook. It includes valuable information about all things psionic: character classes/prestige classes, feats, related skills, monsters, powers, and much more.
・Power StoneといったようなPsionic ItemやPsionic Artifact
Most people tried, and tried hard to like psionics, but the old system just drove people crazy. Try as they might, the system was a clumsy add-on, and sooner or later DMs and players would tire of patching the holes.
Well not anymore...
The new Psionics Handbook blows the doors off the old system, turning a great concept into a great set of rules. Players no longer have to get extremely lucky on a percentile roll to get psionics ("Honest! I rolled a 98...really!") WoTC has codified the house rule that most people used "If the DM allows you to have it, you can have it." In so doing they have eliminated the second most lied about roll in D&D (right after exceptional strength *grin*). Players can now get psionics as a member of one of two classes. The two psionic classes are the Psion (which is then subdivided into disciplines much like schools in magic) and the Psychic Warrior. The Psion is a full-blown mentalist, weak in physical combat while having the greatest range of powers. The Psychic Warrior is more capable in the physical world, with greater access to feats and less to psionic powers. Psionic prestige classes are also included for more variety.
Characters now have one pool of power points, which they use for mental combat as well as to fuel their mental powers. Players will be surprised with how few points that characters will start with (3 if you're lucky), but since the 0-level disciplines can be used up to three times a day for free-the 1st level psionic character is on par with a starting spellcaster. Characters can get bonus power points with higher abilities and the bonus for these high scores increases as you gain levels, which is nice. At first level, your 18 gives you a measly 1 extra power point, but at third level, you get the 1 + 3 more points for a total of 4 bonus points. This scaling of bonuses keeps the low levels from being dominated by stat-mongers, and provides continuing benefits on a kind of "installment plan." Very balanced, and nicely done, (although more than one player is going to be confused by the table that spells out the bonuses).
Mental combat will seem familiar to veterans, but only for a moment. The same attack and defense modes are back, but now each attack mode targets a different attribute. You no longer burn off the other guy's power points - you lower their abilities when you penetrate their defenses. For example, Ego Whip now does temporary strength damage, making your target weaker and weaker (this could have interesting side effects if your target was say, wearing heavy armor while standing on a ledge). The attacker's roll determines the saving throw DC of the defender, with some defense modes granting mental "hardness" which can partially absorb damage that gets through. Non-psionic targets are thankfully made less vulnerable to mental attack, and all damage to non-psionics is converted to rounds of stun (which can be plenty dangerous).
New psionic feats offer a psionic character bewildering options, from ways to beef up your mental attacks to the ability to run up walls (players with visions of Shu Lien or Li Mu Bai should rest assured - the building blocks of Wudan mountain are in this book *grin*). It will be hard for low-level characters to balance their needs for feats from the Player's Handbook with the new psionic feats since many of the really desirable new feats have multiple prerequisites.
The psionic powers section mirrors the spell descriptions in the PH. The power levels run from zero to nine, and the powers of a given discipline like telepathy range from things as mundane as Missive's one-way telepathic messages at level 0, to the jaw-dropping power of Thrall (PERMANENT mental domination of the target) at level 9. A possible criticism of many of these powers is that many look very much like psionic copies of spells from the PH. This is very true in some cases, but it is easy to see that these duplications are need-based. Plus, there are plenty of psionic-only powers to dazzle your players.
The psionic items add a very nice flavor to the game as well. Power stones, crystal capacitors (think of them as mental batteries), and my personal favorite: psychic tattoos. Sure the stones and tattoos are essentially scrolls for the mentalist, but they give a palpable feeling of "other-ness" to a character (and let's face it, if you're using psionics-you want to be different). Rules are included for the creation, upkeep and use of each of the items - so that they can become part of the world, not merely a character's inventory.
Statistics for new psionic monsters are provided, with some old favorites like the Githyanki and Githzerai making their return. Particularly irksome is the absence of some Mind Flayer psionic statistics. Given how frequently the ilithids are mentioned in the book, some NPC versions of the new classes using mind flayers would be very useful.
Perhaps the best thing that WoTC has done with these rules was to integrate them with the games core rules. Rules are given for using psionics on non-psionic creatures, the effect of magic resistance on psionics, spells vs. psionics and a host of other issues that used to drive DMs bananas. Guidelines are even given for making psionics entirely separate from the magic rules (which is how many will want to play, although it has startling effects on gameplay).
Simply put, psionics is back in a big way. Make it a rarity or the basis of your campaign, the rules will finally hold their own.
The artwork in the book is great, but sparse, and the graphic design is second to none in the role-playing industry. There are a few typographical errors in the book. Also, WoTC did away with the underlines on each page. I thought this feature made the books look more like ancient tomes, but I think WoTC must have recieved some strong feedback against the underlines. Aside from a few niggling details that I did not like, I think the Psionics Handbook is a welcome addition to any D&D gamer's library.